Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Data Considerations
access to the main employee database from the HR department, but you only need to list
the employees for your department. During the merge process, you can select which items
to use based on certain criteria, so Word easily pulls out just the list of colleagues from
your department for the merge into the main directory document you’ve set up.
Setting up a mail merge main document and data source and merging them together involves
a number of steps, some of which must be done before others can happen:
1. Set the document type for the main document: letter, e-mail, envelope, labels,
and directory.
2. Associate a data source with the document: new, Outlook contact, or some
other source. The data source fi le holds the records of information, such as one
recipient’s name and address, that will be inserted into the main document at
specifi ed locations.
3. Design your main document by combining ordinary document features with
Word merge fi eld codes Each merge fi eld corresponds to a fi eld in the data source .
document, such as Fname, Lname. In this way, Word customizes each copy of the
main document with information from a single record of the data source.
4. Preview the fi nished document by testing to see how it looks with different
data records.
5. Finish the process by merging the data document with the data source,
creating a printed result, a saved document, or an e-mail document.
Data Considerations
It might seem odd to discuss the data source fi rst, but the data source is often the most
important consideration for a merge and typically receives the least attention. Once you’ve
identifi ed and correctly set up your data source, the rest of the merge process is made
much easier.
Some data considerations, such as usability (does the data set contain what you need?) and
accuracy pretty much go without saying. Other considerations are equally important, such
as whether the data source will be available when you need it, the ease of updating the
data source, and access to the data source both for other data users as well as data creators.
Sometimes, your computer isn’t the only device that needs to access data. For some
documents, you will need access to data in other places — for example, on a laptop (notebook),
for a presentation while traveling, on a different desktop computer at home, or elsewhere.
You can take several approaches to solving the need to either access data from another
location or take the data with you. For the former, especially if the data source is large,
unwieldy, or nonportable for other reasons, some kind of server solution will provide the
answer. This might take the form of a data fi le residing on a SharePoint or other server,
 
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